Thursday, June 4, 2015

Detour: Parade Route

Kristin and her pirate friends gearing up for the 2012 Senior Parade.
Tomorrow is the last day of school, and I'll be going to a parade shortly after 8 am.  Yes, you read that right, an early morning parade.  Oh, and for added fun, I've volunteered to stand at "Spot #2" on the parade route, which is conveniently located directly behind the high school.

What kind of parade happens at 8 am in a parking lot?  Clearly you are not from Donegal.  Our principal describes this annual tradition, the "Cheesiest 30 Minute Tradition of the Year."  AKA, The Senior Parade.

And we wouldn't miss it for the world.

The rules are simple (this list is my interpretation, and not an official list...)
1.  Seniors only may participate
2. Vehicles must be motorized (apparently horses are not permitted...)
3. Vehicles must be operated at a slow, safe speed.
4. Occupants of vehicles may toss candy to the crowd.
5. Spectators MAY NOT return, throw, toss, or otherwise create airborne candy at the occupants of the vehicles.
6. There will be two loops of the route, to allow for photography and adequate viewing.

There will, almost certainly, be a tractor, a firetruck, a trailer with a boat on it, and kids riding ATVs.  There will be many themed floats, music will be playing in at least a few vehicles, some of it will be live -- usually provided by the band kids.  There will be streamers, bubbles, and mardi gras beads.

There will be tons of smiles, and half as many tears.  Because this early morning ritual is the beginning of the end for the seniors.

If you don't have the benefit of living in a small community, I am a bit sad for you on days like this.  These kids have spent thirteen years together, supporting and loving each other, (even when they didn't want to admit it.)  Following the parade, they'll have breakfast in the cafeteria, and begin the practice for commencement, while the rest of the school will attempt a "normal half day" on the last day of school.

There's nothing "normal" about the vibe in the building at 75% capacity, with the seniors one step closer to graduation.

Every new beginning is another new beginning's end, they say.  And so it will go tomorrow.  Our solace will be the tootsie rolls and peppermints gathered as the parade whizzes by, and the knowledge that this ritual is annual, and that it is as sweet as the loot collected at the parade.

Congratulations, Class of 2015!